The Comic Offense from Vaudeville to Contemporary Comedy: Larry David, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, and Dave Chappelle

The Comic Offense from Vaudeville to Contemporary Comedy: Larry David, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, and Dave Chappelle

by Rick DesRochers

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The Comic Offense from Vaudeville to Contemporary Comedy examines how contemporary writer/performers are influenced by the comedic vaudevillians of the early 20th century. By tracing the history and legacy of the vaudeville era and performance acts, like the Marx Brothers and The Three Keatons, and moving through the silent and early sound films of the early 1930s, the author looks at how comic writer/performers continue to sell a brand of themselves as a form of social commentary in order to confront and dispel stereotypes of race, class, and gender.

The first study to explore contemporary popular comic culture and its influence on American society from this unique perspective, Rick DesRochers analyzes stand-up and improvisational comedy writing/performing in the work of Larry David, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, and Dave Chappelle. He grounds these choices by examining their evolution as they developed signature characters and sketches for their respective shows Curb Your Enthusiasm, 30 Rock, The Colbert Report, and Chappelle's Show.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781441160874
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date: 07/31/2014
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Rick DesRochers is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Long Island University Post, US, and an Associate Artist at the PlayPenn New Play Development Conference. He has served as the Literary Director of New Play and Musical Development for the Joseph Papp Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival and The Goodman Theatre of Chicago, as well as the Artistic Director of the New Theatre in Boston. He holds an M.F.A. in stage direction and dramaturgy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, US, and a Ph.D. in Theatre from the City University of New York, Graduate Center. He is also the author of The New Humor in the Progressive Era: Americanization and the Vaudeville Comedian.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations



1. The Vaudeville Aesthetic And The Migration To Radio And Television

2. "What's Real Got To Do With What We Do?"—Groucho Marx To Larry

3. "The Girlie Show" As The New Burlesque—Mae West To Tina Fey

4. Truth And Truthiness Go To Washington—Will Rogers To Stephen Colbert

5. The Mask Of Minstrelsy—Bert Williams To Dave Chappelle



Works Cited

Works Cited


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